A good friend of mine said “Have you ever noticed that people only talk about quality when it is missing??” In general, I tend to agree, but I do see a growing number of people who connect the value of keeping quality front of mind while they are delivering solutions to their organizations. Even with the constant pressure of patching more frequently (security), bi-weekly sprints, releasing features across a growing number of products to support new or improved business process or just managing their user/customer experience across any combination of on-premise, hosted, or platform services, these folks live by “a stitch in time saves nine”.

What is quality? For me it is simply reducing risk and building confidence that the systems are going to perform.

In more detail,

  • That the application does what we said it would do
  • That it will do it all the time
  • That it performs as fast as is baselined
  • That new processes didn’t break old processes
  • That it works on multiple devices
  • That it works around the world
  • That we understand the edge & limits

This list varies for everyone and the weight for each point varies,  but we find this is a good starting point in defining quality at organizations. On the backend metrics take some time to develop, because it’s not just one thing – it’s about how the connected metrics work together. As you can see from the video below technical debt affects code quality, which affects function quality and release quality, which affects deployment frequency… the combinations and dependencies go on, and on!

If you are starting to think about quality don’t get focused on trying to measure all these things are once, start small and build over time. Don’t just come up with a list of things to measure, really take the time to understand how you will measure them. Before you begin, remember the Stockdale paradox from Good to Great by Jim Collins:

“Retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties and at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Here are a few quality categories to think about, and some possible metrics.

Customer experience
How the system meets its users’ needs.
  • Net promoter score
  • Helpdesk interactions, resolution time, re-open percentage
Flow of value
How much development efforts add value.
  • Development sprint velocity and deployment frequency
  • Size of work in progress
  • Defect inflow and rework time
Quality in production
How faultless the version in production is.
  • Service uptime
  • Number of production incidents
Release quality
How faultless the next version to be released is.
  • Test pass rate
  • Service response time, availability, resource consumption

Owning quality across the business takes time. Take it step by step.

MCANTA helps companies achieve competitive advantage through sensible digital transformation, automating software quality assurance, and business process automation. Contact Us to for a free analysis of your unique needs.